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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1728

Consular Services: Outstanding Debts

(Question No. 542)

Ms Julie Bishop asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 18 August 2011:

What is the accumulated sum of outstanding and written-off debt from consular assistance rendered since the publication of Helping Australians abroad: a review of the Australian Government’s consular services (Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, 1997, Canberra).

Mr Rudd: The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The current sum of outstanding debts from consular loans is $1,425,256 (as at 31 August 2011).

To provide information on all written-off debt would entail a significant diversion of resources and in these circumstances I do not consider the additional work can be justified.